Nigeria: Central Bank and MTN to Strike a Deal in $8.1Bn Dispute

South African telecommunications provider, MTN and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are on the verge of striking a deal and coming to an amicable resolution in their dispute over the repatriation of $8.1 billion, according to Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

The Central Bank had accused MTN of transferring $8.1 billion of funds out of Nigeria in breach of foreign-exchange regulations, but MTN denied the charges. Nigeria accounts for a third of the South African company’s annual core profit and is MTN’s biggest market.

During a visit to London, Mohammed said that he believes a settlement is being compiled and that the parties are getting closer to resolving the matter.
He declined to provide any further details but did say that it would be in the best interest of both parties for the case to be resolved as soon as possible because they are all businessmen at the end of the day.

The governor of The Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele assured reporters in Abuja that the matter would definitely be resolved.

In August, Nigeria delivered a blow to South Africa’s MTN and foreign investors when it ordered the telecoms giant to pay back the $8.13 billion (6.96 billion euros) that it allegedly illegally took out of Nigeria. The four banks that were involved in the transfer– Diamond Bank, Standard Chartered, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Citibank -were also fined.

Shortly after this, at the beginning of September, President Muhammadu Buhari’s attorney general issued out another $2 billion tax fine.

MTN’s share value has suffered amidst the legal spat, and recently MTN requested that the Federal High Court of Nigeria grant it an injunctive release from the order issued by the Attorney General of the Nigerian federation and the Central Bank Of Nigeria.


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